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Carl Barks and the Art of the Comic Book: Corrections, Clarifications, and Amplifications

I'll expand and refine this list as time goes by, using it not only to correct errors, including the most egregious typos, but to address questions that have been raised since the book was published.

One such question has been answered by Kim Weston. There definitely was a Florida Power & Light version of the kite giveaway. Kim wrote in December 2005: "The original owner of the discovery copy, first reported to Bob Overstreet some 25 years ago, got it at an open house put on by Florida Power and Light on a Saturday morning in 1954. Either at the same time or at another open house he also got the previous year's edition of the Pinocchio kites giveaway. And he just kept them both with his other Disney comics. He collected or accumulated Disney comics, and particularly Barks's ducks, for about a decade when he was young and still had them as an adult. For a while, as an adult he sought out issues to fill holes in his decade-long run of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories and other titles. He still has them and occasionally looks at them, but mostly they sit in their plastic sleeves in a closet." Kim describes the FP&L version, which he had "in my possession for a week or so" when he made color Xerox copies of it, as "clearly a contemporary variant" of the Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric versions, "with very minor changes from the SCE."

Ultimately, of course, I hope that this list, and Carl Barks and the Art of the Comic Book itself, will be superseded when I write a new book about Barks, one that builds not only on my own research but on the advances made in "Barksology" by Geoffrey Blum (the annotator of the various editions of the Carl Barks Library), Donald Ault (editor of Carl Barks:Conversations), and other scholars, both American and European. A number of Barks-themed Web sites, like Peter Kylling's, have also been bringing valuable material to light.

In the meantime, here are some of the mistakes uncovered by readers and myself, as well as an occasional clarification or amplification. I'm grateful to Dana Gabbard, François Willot, Orjan Berglund, Paulo Eduardo Patricio Vasconcellos, David R. Smith, Stephen Eberhart, Joseph A. Thompson, Geoff Blum, Benadikt Joensen, Are Myklebust, Lars Jensen, E. Horst, and David Neebe.

No doubt this list itself contains errors. If you spot one, let me know!

Page 6: Photos of Barks's mother have surfaced since Carl Barks and the Art of the Comic Book was published with two photos of his father but none of his mother. See page 16 of Celestial Arts' Uncle Scrooge McDuck for two photos of Arminta Barks.

Page 26: Through a printer's error, the word "He" was dropped at the very end of this page.

Page 85: The Walt Disney Company's comic-book circulation records, mentioned in a footnote on this page, were not destroyed but were transferred to the company's Walt Disney Archives. Barks thought he became an employee of Western Printing in 1953, not 1958, as stated in the footnote.

Page 100: The Comic Book Price Guide has for years identified the cover of The Best of Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge No. 1 as "redrawn by Barks" from his cover for Donald Duck Four Color 189. The Price Guide is wrong, and the bibliography is correct; Barks confirmed to me in a letter that he did not draw that cover.

Page 100: My page counts for both issues of The Best of Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge are wrong—they should be 68, not 64—as is my page count for The Best of Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck, which should be 84 rather than 64.

Page 104: I should have noted that the pages for "Small Fryers" in Daisy Duck's Diary Four Color 1150 (1960) are three panels deep.

Page 109: The inside back cover of Donald Duck Four Color 238 should be dated March 17, 1949, per the chronological list of Barks's work on page 208.

Page 109: The back cover of Donald Duck Four Color 263 should be dated October 6, 1949, per the chronological list of Barks's work on page 209.

Page 111: The inside front cover of Donald Duck Four Color 367 should be dated May 24, 1951, per the chronological list of Barks's work on page 209.

Page 114: The date from the chronological list of Barks's work (page 210) for the inside back cover of Donald Duck No. 45 should be October 14, 1954, not October 17.

Page 114: In the entry for Donald Duck No. 60, July-Aug. 1958, the reference to "Buckberg" is, need I say it, a typo for Duckburg.

Page 115: The art-only cover by Barks for Donald Duck No. 103 illustrates "Treasure of Aztec-Land," not "The Golden Galleon." (Both titles are on the cover.)

Page 115: The date from the chronological list of Barks's work (page 214) for the front cover of Donald Duck No. 105 should be June 23, 1965, not July.

Page 117: Gyro Gearloose was in the finished drawing for the cover of Donald Duck Album Four Color 1239, as well as in the pencil rough. Evidently, he was removed only when the cover was being prepared for printing.

Page 120: Kim Weston has published the following account of how he solved the mystery of the three missing (apparently) pages in Gyro Gearloose Four Color No. 1184:

Since sometime in the early 1970s, I have had a copy of Carl Barks' handwritten work records, which I received from Mike Barrier to help me with cross-checking some of his work on the Barks Bibliography. Part of this help was attempting to find missing or unidentified work, since some of the records are ambiguous, poorly identified, or confusing. And Barks had never seen published or did not have copies of some of his work as published. Some items had notations like "never saw this" or "have no idea what this is." But for the most part the record was extremely helpful in identifying his work and it is also a quite complete record of his work. And some of the items in the list were later identified or discovered to have been published, but were unknown at the time.

Barks' work records for October of 1960 are as follows:

Oct 1 - cover 1 - Keeping Insects away - art & idea - GG #1184

Oct 12 - Gyro Gearloose #1184 - 32 pages art - Stories by Vic Lockman (most likely) - GG #1184

Oct 31 - The Nose Knows - 1 page GG - # ?
The Old Timer - art - cover #3 - GG#1184
Mechanized Mess - 1 page - GG # ?

There is also a bracket following and connecting the three October 31 titles and the two question marks are circled.

What does all that mean? Well, my interpretation of it has always been that Barks wrote and drew the cover of Gyro Gearloose #1184. He also did the art only for the thirty-two interior pages of the issue. And several weeks later he turned in the drawings for the three cover gags. As for the question marks, Barks had never seen the "Nose Knows" and " Mechanized Mess" gags published although he did have a copy of the comic book. At the time I noted that my comic book also lacked those two gag pages. But I later found out that the first four issues of Gyro Gearloose, Four Color Nos. 1047, 1095, 1184, and 1267, were all published in two editions, one with advertising and one with no advertising, and I have since acquired copies of both versions.

These records, thus interpreted, suggest that when Gyro Gearloose No. 1184 was published, three pages were cut from the stories in the issue. Both versions of the comic book have 29 interior pages of Barks art, instead of 32. 32-29 = 3 pages missing. So when I wrote my article on unpublished Barks art, which was published in Funnyworld No. 16 forty years ago, I said that there were three pages cut from the four stories in the issue. In the no-ad edition there are two non-Barks Gyro gags in the centerfold spread and a non-Barks Donald Duck gag on page 32, in addition to 29 pages of Barks-drawn stories. In the edition with ads, the centerfold is two pages of ads and page 32 is a half page non-Barks Donald Duck gag and a half-page advertisement. The inside front cover and outside back cover are also ads, replacing "The Nose Knows" and "Mechanized Mess."

But this scenario appears to be wrong. When the Carl Barks estate was put up for auction on ebay by Jerry Weist around 2008, Barks's original payment vouchers were put up for sale. I don't know who bought them, since there were multiple lots, but a virtually complete set of the records from 1942 to 1969 now appears on Peter Kylling's website, cbarks.dk. Unlike my copy of Barks's work records, these records include the amount Barks was paid for his work. Sometimes the dates for work are different and apparently indicate when Barks was paid instead of when he submitted the work, but this is not consistent. As with my written records, sometimes the records are ambiguous or a little confusing.

And some of the interpretations of the records on the website are incorrect. For example, the website may indicate that Barks was paid extra for extra panels on a page (correct in some cases) when what actually happened was that the story was altered before publication, but paid for at the normal rate. The published page count is shown on the site instead of the submitted page count, and the amount paid, but the amount paid is correct. In other cases the amount paid may be incorrect because Barks may have been paid for script on one day and art on another (for covers and gags especially). But most of the time the truth can be found. Below are the records for Gyro Gearloose No. 1184 from the website:

Gyro Gearloose 1184


FC 1 10/1 $17.50

The Nose Knows 1 10/31 NR

Monsterville 10 10/12 $340

The Cube 5 10/12 $170

Mighty But Miserable 7 10/12 $238

Brain-Strain 7 10/12 $238

The Old Timer 1 10/31 $34

Mechanized Mess 1 10/31 $34

At the time Barks submitted this work, he was being paid $34 a page for art and $11.50 a page for script for stories and (usually) gags. Covers were usually $50 for art and $17.50 for the idea or "script." Looking at the above record, it shows that Barks was paid for the front cover idea. He also was paid $50 for the art, but that payment record may have been missing or ambiguous and that is not shown here. Barks was paid $34 for drawing "The Nose Knows," but NR means that a record of that was missing. The page counts for the four stories are as published but Barks could have submitted a 10-page story, a 6-page story, and two 8-page stories, and based on what I have seen in other records on the site, the site would still reflect the published page count, not the submitted page count.

However, what is important is that the payments agree with the page counts stated here, at Barks's normal page rate for art of $34. What this means is that Barks did submit 29 pages of interior art and 3 pages of art for gags. Thus, there is a total of 32 pages of art for the issue, plus script and art for the front cover. It further indicates that there were no cuts to the stories and that the no-ad version of the comic included everything that Barks drew for the comic book. What this also means is that Barks likely made an error in writing out his work records. He did do 32 pages of art for Gyro 1184, but 29 pages of interior art were likely submitted on Oct 12, and the remaining three pages of gags were submitted on Oct 31.

So I think I now know what happened to the three missing pages of art for Gyro 1184: they never existed in the first place. And the supposition that they did was based on an error (there aren't many but there are some) in Barks's recording of his work records.

Pages 124-25 and 226: See the entries headed "Kite Giveaways," about the Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and Florida Power & Light versions of Barks's kite giveway, and also Kim Weston's confirmation of the existence of the Florida Power & Light giveaway in a paragraph near the top of this page. David Neebe has written with this information about another edition of the kite giveaway:

"There are now four identified varieties. As well as SCE, PG&E, and FP&L, there is also a single copy that came from Western's files. It has a blank indicia box. I have been in contact with Kim Weston and we have compared notes. The blank indicia box copy is the same as the FP&L copy, with the word 'Electric' in one of the panels on the seventh page.  It is also missing the SCE logo from the utility truck on the seventh page.   "Overstreet lists a copy as having a 'label.'  I haven't seen this copy, but based on other evidence I assume is it also a copy with a blank indicia box and a label added to designate the distributing utility.   "The blank indicia box copy can be seen either in Heritage auction archives or in my CGC Kite Fun Book registry set on CGC's webpages.   "I specialize in Kite Fun Books, and currently have 88 different of the 100 variations I have identified from the 32 years they were distributed by Western. Blank indicia boxes are not too scarce. It appears that in the 1960s and 1970's, Kite Fun Books were sold directly to SCE and PG&E by Western as well as being available to other utilities for purchase through 'Reddy Kilowatt, Inc.' in NYC.  Interesting is that from about 1962-1974, all the SCE copies are printed with six kite flying rules on the back cover while PG&E and others have eight kite flying rules.   "I was also lucky enough to pick up last year a 1953 Pinocchio from FP&L. It is, I believe, only the second copy known. The other copy has lived its life with the only 1954 Donald Duck FP&L."

Page 129: The "Barney Bear and Benny Burro" story in Our Gang No. 22, Mar.-Apr. 1946, is six pages, not eight.

Page 141: The date from the chronological list of Barks's work (page 210) for the back cover of Uncle Scrooge No. 17, should be February 23, 1956, not February 13.

Page 142: The "Gyro Gearloose" story in Uncle Scrooge No. 23, Sept.-Nov. 1958, was reprinted in Walt Disney's Comics & Stories No. 396, September 1973 (that entry is on page 192 of the book).

Page 156: In Uncle Scrooge No. 103, 1973, a total of eight panels were cut from pages nine and ten in the original story, "Back to Long Ago" from Uncle Scrooge No. 16, Dec.-Feb. 1957, reducing the story's length to twenty pages from the original twenty-one. The dialogue in one panel on the ninth page was rewritten to cover the cuts.

Page 159: In Uncle Scrooge No. 149, February 1978, in the reprint of "Lost Beneath the Sea" from Uncle Scrooge No. 46, December 1963, Scrooge's dialogue was changed in the third and fourth panels on the fifteenth page to eliminate a reference to labor unions. (I originally posted this correction, incorrectly, as for page 158.)

Page 162: Walt Disney Comics Digest No. 6 is dated December 1968, not 1958.

Page 165: Walt Disney Comics Digest No. 57 is dated February 1976, not 1956.

Page 166: In the annotation for the entry for Walt Disney's Comics & Stories No. 36, September 1943, the strange word "bohimaton" is misspelled as "bohimation" in its second appearance.

Page 169: Daisy made her first appearance in a Barks story (a cameo) in Walt Disney's Comics & Stories No. 36, September 1943, not in Walt Disney's Comics No. 64, January 1946, as the bibliography has it.

Page 172: I should have noted that the cover for Walt Disney's Comics & Stories No. 95, August 1948, was the first that Barks drew for WDC&S. I also should not have listed that issue as dated July 1948, rather than August.

Page 174: The "Grandma Duck" story in Walt Disney's Comics & Stories No. 132, September 1951, is eight pages long, not ten pages, as the bibliography has it.

Page 176: The date from the chronological list of Barks's work (page 210) for the "Donald Duck" story in Walt Disney's Comics & Stories No. 158 should be March 26, 1953, not May.

Pages 184-185: The printers dropped lines from the summary of the "Donald Duck" story in Walt Disney's Comics & Stories No. 253, replacing them with question marks.

Page 185: The music reproduced on the fourth page of the "Donald Duck" story in Walt Disney's Comics & Stories No. 264, September 1962, is by Haydn, but it's from the second movement of the "Surprise" Symphony, No. 94—it's not "Twinkle, twinkle, little star."

Page 187: The date from the chronological list of Barks's work (page 213) for Walt Disney's Comics & Stories No. 282 should be September 6, 1963, not September 9.

Page 188: Geoff Blum writes: "I'm bothered by the front cover of WDC&S 301 (nephews' fishing lines pulling Donald under the rowboat). Despite the fact that you give a March 15, 1965, date from Carl's account books for it, it does not look like Barks to me. The nephews' beaks, their tail and head feathers, the squareness of Donald's beak, the way his hands are drawn, the overly crisp motion lines and elongated drops of water, the general line weight (or lack thereof): everything feels wrong to me. Look at the three or four Barks covers just before it and after it, and you'll see what I mean."

Page 188: Geoff Blum writes: "On the cover to WDC 307 as published, the heads of Gyro, Pluto, and Daisy along the bottom edge are not by Barks. They are fairly close to the three heads provided by Barks on his pencil rough, but they have been drawn by another artist, [Tony] Strobl perhaps."

Page 199: In the entry for the unpublished "golden apples: story, the printers insisted on misspelling Atalanta as "Atlanta" even after I corrected their mistake.

Page 202: The one-page "bridle" gag was published in Brazil and Italy in 1958, soon after its scheduled but canceled U.S. publication in Uncle Scrooge No. 19, Sept.-Nov. 1957.

Page 204: Geoff Blum writes, in regard to the last paragraph on this page, and its reference to a cover sketch for "a story that was apparently never published": "I've seen the drawing, and the content (not to mention the reference to Davy Jones's Locker) makes it clear that this is one of several cover designs for 'Lost Beneath the Sea' [Uncle Scrooge No. 46, December 1963]."

Page 208: In the February 28, 1947, entry, the Firestone giveaway's date should be 1947, not 1948.

Page 211: In the entry for November 15, 1956, "FC" should be "IFC."

Page 216: The "Salesman" story sketches were also found in the Walt Disney Archives, under the title "Travelling Salesman."

Page 225: As Are Myklebust has pointed out, the photo on this page, of Barks holding the book Disneyana, could not have been taken at the 1976 Newcon comics convention in Boston, since it was published in the program for the 1975 Newcon convention. It was most likely taken in 1974, around the time the book was published.

[Posted May 30, 2004; updated July 17, 2004, December 13, 18, and 19, 2005, June 29, 2006, March 28, 2007, February 15 and 19 and August 18, 2008, April 22 and May 3, 2010, and May 29, 2015.]